Uncertainty continues to cloud next month’s T20 tri-series in Zimbabwe, also involving Australia and Pakistan, which remains at risk of a Zimbabwe player boycott.
Less than a day after sources told ESPNcricinfo Zimbabwe’s players “understood,” they would not be paid until at least July but acknowledged the importance of playing in the tri-series, the same sources confirmed the players demand for outstanding salaries to be paid by June 25 remains in place.
Zimbabwe’s players are owed two months of salary and match fees dating back to their tour of Sri Lanka last year and a section of players remain adamant they will make themselves unavailable for international duty unless the bills are settled.
However, some players have relaxed their view on taking part in the on-going warm-up matches against Kenya and have chosen to use the fixtures as practice in the event the tri-series goes ahead.
As reported on Wednesday, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, John Nyumbu, Richmond Mutumbami, Tendai Chatara, Natsai M’shangwe, Donald Tiripano and Chris Mpofu played in games against Kenya but Hamilton Maskadza, Peter Moor, Brendan Taylor, Kyle Jarvis, Ryan Burl and Sean Williams had not. Former captain Graeme Cremer, allrounder Sikandar Raza, batsman Craig Ervine and fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani were not named in the practice squads.
Raza and Muzarabani are currently playing overseas. There were no fixtures scheduled for Thursday but Friday’s matches may reveal more about which players intend to avail themselves for the national side.
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has acknowledged that they are in a financially precarious position and have not been able to meet their commitments. Ten days ago, in a comment to ESPNcricinfo, ZC said it was “top priority,” to settle its bills and would begin processing payments. Since then, the players have received one month’s worth of salary but are still owed another two, as well as the long-overdue match fees.
ZC have also since appointed Vince van der Bijl as a consultant to assist in plotting the way forward, while the players are operating through a representative Gerald Mlotchwa. The players are working on reforming an assoication, which became defunct in 2015, in order to negotiate with ZC.
The tri-series is due to start on July 1 and then Zimbabwe are set to play five ODIs at home against Pakistan.